There’s a joke about the publishing industry that everyone who works in it has an unpublished manuscript of their own sitting in a drawer. This is often meant as an insult, as though everyone who works with books is just someone who hasn’t been able to write one. That presumption is, of course, nonsense, because in reality it is just that people who like working on books also like working with books.
A misconception, however, is that working in publishing would make writing a book any easier. Often, it’s exactly the opposite. CALA instructor Kate McKean, a literary agent, talked about her own struggle to write a book on Catapult in an essay called “Deal or No Deal: Why Being a Literary Agent Doesn’t Make It Easier to Write a Book.” McKean talks about a range of issues she has, from not having enough time to write to focusing too much on how great it would be to have a book deal. She uses the essay as a how-to for writers. Or, not exactly:
If you find this essay helpful but want even more help from Kate McKean, you can get advice from her in person this summer with the two classes she’s teaching: